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The Choice Before Us
October 15, 2002
By Joseph Vecchio

Americans face a clear choice in the mid-term elections this November: give the Bush administration and the Republican leadership complete control of the entire government, or give them some serious opposition. It's the most important election we've had for many years, because the results of it are going to determine not just the future of the US, but of the world.

Never mind what a vote for Republicans means as far as domestic policy is concerned. We all know what they stand for: less regulation, lower taxes for the rich, etc. It's a tune we've heard from them for more than a century, they sing it regardless of how many times it wrecks the economy, so none of it is a big surprise.

What makes this election crucial is foreign policy. America is the toughest kid in the neighborhood, now where do we go from here? It's more than a choice between war and peace, it's a choice between whether we want to live in the world or take it over.

A vote for Republicans means agreeing with the policy of using any means necessary, including war and the loss of our own freedoms, to keep our position as the world's most powerful nation. Internationally, it means that America will dictate its terms to the world, domestically it means that the Bush family and their financial backers will dictate their terms to Americans.

If this is the path we choose, then we'd better be ready for what happens after. Maybe the war with Iraq will lead to peace in the Middle East, but maybe it'll turn the entire region against us. Even a quick war where only a few American soldiers die means that we'll have to spend the next generation or more policing the Middle East. Who do you think is going to be doing all that work? Hint: it won't be the ones who got us in there. And finally, we'd better be prepared to accept the idea of a one-party nation, because if the Republicans aren't going to accept opposition from foreigners, they won't accept it from Americans, either.

Since the elected Democratic leadership doesn't seem to have a clue what it stands for, a vote for them isn't much more than a vote against the Republicans. But considering the possible dangers of the so-called "Bush Doctrine," that may be enough. It might at least put some brakes on this train wreck before we crash and burn.

Keep in mind that the main opposition to the Bush administration comes from moderate-to-liberal left-wingers who may not like the Democratic leaders but aren't ready to give up on them just yet, and from moderate right-wingers who voted for Bush in 2000 but can't believe how badly he's screwed up since he got in. If they turn out in force against the Republicans it could be as bad for them as it was for the Democrats in 1994. It's hard to tell, because the national media doesn't pay a lot of attention to these people, so we may not know how angry they are until election day. But there is an opposition out there, and it's gaining strength. 133 Congressmen voted against the war in Iraq, that's a lot more than a lot of people expected. The left has been slower to adapt the tactics of the right, but they're learning, and if they're given time they can become a major force in the future.

The Republicans, for now, have done a good job of manipulating the war issue to their advantage. Remember how no one was even talking about Iraq less than three months ago? That didn't happen by accident: they had to work fast, before anyone could organize against them. They knew they wouldn't be able to get away with it if the Democrats could fight back.

What happens in November means as much as what happened when Lincoln was re-elected during the Civil War, or when FDR was elected during the Great Depression. In both those cases, we showed how we handled adversity, now we'll show how we handle success. Will we be the greatest free nation among other free nations, leading the way to the future, or will we be like all of the other empires of the past, empires that fell because the only vision the leaders had was how much power they could grab? In a few short weeks, the world will find out.

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